Developer eyes ‘R-4’ 28 acres off K-Pike

A new developer for the former Swan property, located across from the former Weigel’s at 12639 Kingston Pike just west of Everett Road, said he wants to build a ”neighborhood commercial” development on 28.76 acres.

Developer David Robinette, owner of Site Inc, is asking Farragut Planning Commission to rezone the parcel from R-2, R-1 and Floodplain District, to Commercial-1, R-4 or Attached Family Residential zoning and FPD.

At the same time, Robinette is asking that parcels belonging to the Ivey family and totaling 115 acres off Union Road be rezoned from Agriculture Zoning to R-1/Open Space Residential to make way for a residential development.

Although FMPC members did not take action on the rezoning requests for either property, as it was discussed as part of a workshop, they seemed to favor the “neighborhood commercial” concept for the Swan property.

“This is one of the properties we have been talking about,” FMPC member and Town Alderman Louise Povlin said, referring to a Comprehensive Land Use Committee on which she sits that is studying updates to the Town’s current Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

“There’s a real opportunity to look at this from a neighborhood commercial point of view,” Povlin added. “I have big concerns about it being a big box [store] and a big parking lot put on the property.

“It’s one of our last big pieces of property that could really be an asset to this Town and have some longevity. Most ‘big boxes’ have about a 15-year lifespan. My concern is we will be right back where we are with [former sites of] Ingles and Kroger.”

“Small grocery stores are really around that 22,000-square-foot range now,” Robinette said. “We have no big boxes … that’s not in our future.”

“So, the neighborhood concept wouldn’t be foreign to you?” Commissioner Rose Ann Kile asked.

“That’s what it’s going to be,” Robinette answered. “You are going to have a Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts-type of brew-through somewhere on this main road. A few sit-down restaurants are a possibility … it will be the center point [of three big subdivisions surrounding it].”

“I think we are supportive of a neighborhood commercial [development],” Commissioner Ed St. Clair said. “That’s the trend …I don’t want to see a big box at all.”

On the other hand, FMPC agreed with Town staff that rezoning the former Ivey farm would be “premature” because of the condition of Union Road. Mark Shipley, Farragut Community Development director, said construction on the improvements to Union Road is about five years out.

The Swan property falls to the rear of the Ivey Farm, which Robinette also is developing. He plans on building a road through the Swan property so residents of the proposed Ivey Farm property could access Kingston Pike.

Robinette said he expects actual building of homes would not begin until 2020.

FMPC members said they want to hear from Town engineer Darryl Smith regarding a time line on the Union Road project in conjunction with Robinette’s development plans for the Ivey property.

Two previous developers attempted, in 2015 and in 2016, to get the Swan property rezoned commercial while changing the Town’s Land Use Plan.

FMPC voted in April 2015 to change the Medium Density Residential portion to Commercial and Low Density Residential to Civic Institutional, but the first developer did not pursue the rezoning request. Then in January 2016, another developer sought a change to Commercial zoning on the future land use map, and change the Civic Institutional zone to Commercial.

But FMPC agreed to amend the area east of the western limit of the floodway to Open Space Park.

While the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the changes on the first reading, those changes did not proceed to the second reading — so it failed.